I offer these ten tips, each with a do and a don’t, for the Christian who is sick and seeking healing. This comes from personal experience, and from being around charismatic churches who believe in spiritual healing my whole life. I hope the do’s and don’ts are full of faith and hope, but also a healthy dose of common sense and reality (which are sometimes sorely lacking in Christian circles). I hope these may be of some help to you, and if you have more suggestions do share with us all, as we are all learning together.
When you are sick, do give yourself the grace you need and be gentle on yourself. Let yourself be sick, take the time you need to get better
- But don’t allow your sickness to dominate your personality, and define your existence. If you are in a chronic illness or prolonged recovery, learn how hard to push yourself so that you don’t get into a downwards spiral of doing less and less, and hence getting worse, but equally don’t push yourself too hard. Nobody can tell you how hard that is: only trial and error will tell you.
Do trust in the sovereignty of God, and that he is at work in your circumstances for your good, and that you might learn to be more like him
- But don’t let that trust turn into a stoic acceptance of sickness, which is never God’s ulitmate best for you. We live in a fallen world and sickness is an alien invader we are to resist not passively welcome.
Do allow your sickness to prompt you to think about your own vulnerability, frailty, and mortality.
- But don’t let yourself become morbid and pre-occupied with fear of death. Remember there is always someone worse off than you, and always something to be grateful for. Find things to thank God for and do so!
Do take the opportunity to approach sickness with hope, joy, and to be a good witness of the work of God in you to others
- But don’t think you must always keep your ‘game face’ on. Its OK to be weak, vulnerable, and to accept the support of others. Jesus is not glorified when you fake it. Your light will shine through your weakness, not by trying to hide it.
When people ask you how you are do try and be as positive as it is real to be: not everyone wants a blow by blow account of your symptoms
- But don’t lie and pretend things are better than they are. Find some people you can be totally open with. You will know who your real friends are at a time like this: they are the people that turn up at your hospital bed, or you wish would be there, but for whatever reason can’t be.
Do turn to God in prayer when you are sick
- But don’t let that stop you visiting doctors, and taking medicine: take God’s healing whichever way he wants to give it to you! Medicine is as much a gift of God as a miraculous healing. After all God gave doctor’s their skills so they can do his work of healing.
Do keep on asking for prayer: persistence in prayer is commended in Scripture
- But don’t feel obligated to receive prayer at every opportunity, sometimes well meaning Christians may urge you to be prayed for and it just wont feel right. You are not your illness.
Do seek to grow your faith through this experience of suffering
- But don’t let yourself believe the lie that if you are not healed it is because you do not have enough faith!
Do study the Scriptural promises that audaciously say God will heal you, and dare to believe them
- But don’t be disappointed or disillusioned if your healing is delayed by weeks, months, years or even decades.
Do dare to believe that God wants to, can, and WILL heal you
- But don’t forget that for the Christian, our real hope of healing goes beyond the grave to the great and glorious day when there will be no more sickness.
More Posts from Adrian on how to suffer as a Christian
- Audacious Promises that God will Heal You
- Already AND Not Yet: Expecting God’s Blessing
- God Restores the Broken
- Christian, You Are Not Suffering Alone
- Trusting God in the Middle of the Storm
- 45 practical ways to improve your health and wellbeing
- How a misinterpreted verse can make us feel guilty when we grieve
- Suicide Prevention: What the Church can do
- The problem of good
- Healing Today
- To live is Christ, to die is gain
- God’s incredible care for us all, and especially those who are mentally ill
- There will be an end to these troubles